Patient Information Resources

Centre for Orthopaedics
Suite 10-33/34/35 Mount Elizabeth Novena Specialist Centre
38 Irrawaddy Road
Singapore, 329563, Singapore
Ph: (65) 6684 5828
Fax: (65) 6684 5829

Child Orthopedics
Pain Management
Spine - Cervical
Spine - General
Spine - Lumbar
Spine - Thoracic

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My wife was kicked in the back by a horse and has had several surgeries. She has true, chronic back pain. She is not using her pain to get sympathy or attention. The pain clinic where she goes does nothing to help her get rid of the pain. It's all about changing her attitude about the pain. How can we get them to see her in a different way?

Many chronic pain sufferers have true pain that is not used to gain attention. No doubt your wife is in this group. But traumatic injuries with multiple surgeries can result in pain that just isn't going to go away.

The nervous system is very complex and poorly understood. Although there are many ways to treat pain, it's not always successful. Sometimes it takes months and even years to try different methods to see which one works best for each individual.

If your wife has not seen a physical therapist, acupuncturist, or other back pain specialist, it might be a good idea. If she has seen these people (and others) and also tried various pain medications, it's usually time for a behavioral management program. It sounds like this is the stage she has reached in her quest for help.

This is not necessarily a dead-end. Many studies have shown that a behavioral approach to chronic pain can result in increased function and activity. The pain may not be less, but the patient is able to do more despite the pain.

For example, the team will be able to help her identify and overcome any avoidance behaviors. Avoidance refers to the fact that it's natural to avoid certain movements or activities if we think it's going to hurt. But over time, we lose motion and function and the pain is still there.

The program should also help her learn how to pace herself. A steady pace of activity may be better than overdoing it followed by a prolonged rest period. Instead of ups and downs in activity, the person can maintain a level of activity that allows them to engage in daily activities without a crash and burn effect.

It might be best to schedule an appointment with the case manager or key team members. Find out more about the program design and purpose. See where your wife and her goals fit into the scheme of things. Feel free to ask any questions you may have and express your concerns. Without the patient's cooperation, even the best pain management program won't have the best results.


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